Kenya and Somalia restore ties amid sea border row

President Abdullahi (L) travelled to Nairobi to meet with President Kenyatta for the first time since March when diplomatic relations soured. / Photo: Kenya State House

Kenya and Somalia have agreed to normalise diplomatic relations despite an ongoing maritime boundary case at the International Court of Justice.

The rapprochement will start with restoration of the issuance of travel visas on arrival for citizens of the two East African nations.


This follows a meeting on Thursday between Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Somalia counterpart Mohamed Abdullahi "Farmajo" on the sidelines of the just concluded International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) summit in Nairobi.


"The two leaders agreed to explore avenues of strengthening bilateral and diplomatic ties between Nairobi and Mogadishu for the benefit of the citizens of the two nations," a statement issued by President Kenyatta's office said.


Relations between the two countries have been strained after Somalia took its dispute with Kenya over their sea border to the International Court of Justice.

Somalia also accuses Kenya of meddling in its affairs by supporting Ahmed Mohamed Islam, known by his nickname “Madobe”, the president of the southern Jubaland state.

But President Abdullahi is said to have "expressed confidence that the maritime boundary dispute between his country and Kenya that is currently before the International Court of Justice in The Hague will be resolved in a mutually acceptable manner".

The disputed ocean territory stretches for more than 100,000 sq km (38,610 sq miles). Tests have shown potential reserves of offshore gas in the area.

The Hague-based court last month agreed to Kenya's request for a one-year delay of the case, after the country said it needed time to reconstitute its legal team.


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